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West Ham "Insider" piece stokes Dembele rumours

West Ham have suggested they submitted "a bid of £20m" for a "a player from Scotland" amid speculation heavily linking them to Celtic striker Moussa Dembele.

In an article entitled "The Insider" on the club's official website, an anonymous writer – whose views it is stated are "not necessarily the views of West Ham United" – claiming to have intimate knowledge of workings behind the scenes at London Stadium said the bid represents "a figure close to the club's all-time transfer record".

Celtic told Omnisport on Thursday they had no knowledge of an official approach from West Ham and would offer no further comment.

Dembele has proved a big hit with the runaway Scottish Premiership leaders, scoring 19 goals in 36 goals across all competitions after signing from Fulham last year.

Five of those goals have arrived against bitter rivals Rangers and Parkhead boss Brendan Rodgers has insisted Celtic will not be persuaded to sell the 20-year-old Frenchman this month.

At a news conference to preview Friday's FA Cup third-round tie at home to Manchester City, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic refused to discuss West Ham's alleged interest in Dembele.

He did talk about his desire to sign veteran Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe and Brentford striker Scott Hogan – ventures that were apparently backed up by "The Insider".

The piece claimed "an £8m bid was made for a player who currently plies his trade in the Championship and a £6m bid for a current Premier League player".

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